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5/10/2010

Revolutionary Green Home and Office


     Revolutionary Green Ideas for Office and Home aren't that difficult or costly. I’m thinking about oil/ OPEC/Crude spilling in the Gulf and the best answer to being greener today is to cut our consumption by forty percent. I don’t just mean gasoline; I am talking about cutting our electric, gas, trash and water usage.
   My local water company (Moulton Niguel Water in Lguna Niguel) asked residents and businesses to cut water usage by 20% during a severe water shortage. My household cut our water down by thirty eight percent, and I have several teenagers at home. My father used to make us take "military showers", there were so many of us if you didn’t the small house water heater would never have regenerated enough hot water. This sounded crazy to my children who are accustomed to relaxing in the hot shower until the tank runs out. A military shower was defined as, ten second rinse and soap the washcloth; turn off the water and lather and shampoo then 2-minute rinse in hot.  That was unreasonable considering I had established a trend and belief that taking a long shower was somehow a luxury that they deserved.
   I used a kitchen timer with a buzzer, and if they take a shower in less than five minutes they get a dollar. I know a bribe, but it worked and changed their concept of hot water relax. If they want to be leisurely they take a bath in less than 3 inches and sit until they are pruney.
   I installed displacement toilet dams in toilet reservoirs. Placing one or two plastic containers filled with stones (not bricks you will have a rusty colored toilet) in the toilet's reservoir will displace about 4 liters of water per flush. I am not a big supporter of low flow toilets because in California they are required but many users end up flushing multiple times to accomplish the goal. I may not be so prudy and will refrain from the 1980’s slogan about it being yellow.
   I love to garden. The idea of not having spring flowers everywhere was a sacrifice I wasn’t willing to cut. I compromised and mulched more and turned the sprinklers on the grass areas off and only water the flowers and pots. I recycle much water from household use and only use a spray cut off nozzle for any cleaning. Our water bill went down $380 a month, even with the dollar bribes I'm ahead because I'm an ATM machine anyways isn't every parent?
So how do we apply the concept larger? Just don’t buy as much. Don’t buy products with large part only packaging. This saves time, space, and clutter.
   In the office it is more difficult to convince a team to cut back for the good of being “green”.  There are a couple simple tips that can make a business not only save money, save in trash and perhaps benefit the whole.
   When you leave your desk Turn off equipment when it's not being used. This can reduce the energy used by 25 percent; turning off the computers at the end of the day can save an additional 50 percent.
   Communicate by email, and read email messages onscreen most can be saved in folders without the need to print them. Organizing the folders by project can allow you to access information at the keyboard without sorting through junk.
   Reduce fax-related paper waste by using a fax-modem and by using a fax cover sheet only when necessary. Many Fax-modems are free and allow documents to be sent directly from a computer, never requiring a printed hard copy.
   Produce double-sided documents.
   Do not leave taps dripping; always turn off tightly. (One drop wasted per second wastes 10,000 liters per year.)
   Be a hero. Don’t make a pot of coffee only for you, be friendly and generous and ask if others want a cup.
Being green does not require huge time or cash, just awareness that we are all responsible. 

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